The Big Conversation
Two tributes on Thursday marked a solemn day of celebration and mourning in Texas.
In a historic day for politics in Texas, all five living presidents met in Dallas to formally dedicate the new George W. Bush Presidential Library and Museum.
At a celebration attended by world leaders and several other national political stars, the presidents sounded a bipartisan message, praising Bush for his work in areas like education, immigration and AIDS relief. A humbled Bush only gently referenced the controversial aspects of his presidency.
“The political winds blow left and right, the polls rise and fall, supporters come and go," Bush said, as The Dallas Morning News reports. "But in the end, leaders are defined by the convictions they hold."
"I dedicate this library with unshakable faith in the future of our country," he added. "Whatever challenges come before us I will always believe our nation’s best days lie ahead."
After the ceremony in Dallas, President Barack Obama traveled to Waco to memorialize the firefighters and others killed in the plant explosion in West last week. In front of about 9,000 mourners who filled Baylor University's Ferrell Center, Obama vowed to help the town recover and rebuild.
"We may not all live here in Texas," Obama said. "But we’re neighbors, too. We’re Americans, too. And we stand with you and we do not forget. We’ll be there even after the cameras leave and after the attention turns elsewhere."
• Conservative Infighting Kills Effort To "Fix" Obamacare (BuzzFeed): "Three years after Obamacare was signed into law, Republicans on Capitol Hill are locked in an unusually bitter intraparty fight over whether to fix what they see as problems with the law or to insist only on the unlikely dream of fully repealing the health-care law. The breach became painfully visible to conservative insiders on a private listserv this week when a top aide to Senator Ted Cruz exchanged a series of terse and combative emails — obtained by BuzzFeed — over House Majority Leader Eric Cantor's attempt to change the law's treatment of patients with pre-existing conditions.
• Julián Castro and Paul Wolfowitz: Political support grows for same-sex marriage (Houston Chronicle): "We stand together, the Democratic mayor of San Antonio and a senior appointee in three Republican presidential administrations, united in our support for the freedom to marry and an end to the discrimination caused by the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) which treats one legally married couple differently from another."
• Water infrastructure financing in jeopardy in Texas House (Austin American-Statesman): "A cornerstone of efforts to start financing water projects across the state appears to be in jeopardy ahead of a vote scheduled for Monday in the Texas House, as factions of Democrats and Republicans are sounding their reluctance."
• House Backs Bill Limiting Mail-In Ballot Collection (The Texas Tribune): "The Texas House on Thursday tentatively approved a measure that would make it a Class A misdemeanor for someone to collect and deposit 10 or more mail-in ballots from other voters during an election."
• Lawmakers consider how far over the speed limit is too fast (The Dallas Morning News): "How much over the speed limit can you get away with driving? A House committee debated the matter Thursday, considering a bill that would prohibit tickets for anything up to 10 mph above the posted limit. The legislation by Rep. Bill Callegari, R-Katy, would not apply to moving violations within a school crossing zone or within 500 feet of a school, hospital or college, or in combination with another moving violation."
Quote of the Day: "He’s by far the best-qualified man, but no. I really don’t. I think it’s a great country. There are a lot of great families, and it’s not just four families or whatever. There are other people out there that are very qualified, and we’ve had enough Bushes." — Former first lady Barbara Bush, asked whether she would like to see Jeb Bush run for president
- What Went Wrong in West, Texas — and Where Were the Regulators?, ProPublica
- Texas Senate moves to foil James Bond-like license-plate flippers, The Dallas Morning News
- From Power Plant to Civic Renewal Centerpiece, The New York Times
- Austin restaurants must compost food scraps starting in 2016, Austin American-Statesman
- Five Years After Ike, Galveston Is Still Picking Up the Pieces, The Texas Tribune